The jewelry designer, who in 2007 sold a majority stake of her company to the Boston-based private equity firm, has bought back full control of the brand. Effective immediately, Rostagno has been reinstated as the company’s chief creative officer and chief executive officer.
The company’s previous ceo Jill Beraud, formerly Tiffany & Co.’s executive vice president of global retail and strategic store development and design, has stepped down. She joined the firm in 2015.
Rostagno said in a statement: “I am extremely grateful for the support Castanea Partners has given the brand, helping to build infrastructure, increase distribution and develop our e-commerce platform. In this new phase, I’m truly looking forward to driving our ethos and creativity with innovative designs and artistic collaborations.” Castanea did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Financial terms were not disclosed, though Rostagno noted she bought back her company with her own funds as well as private investments from friends and family.
In tandem with the buyback, Rostagno has also appointed a new executive team. Diego McDonald, former president of Ghurka, will step in as chief financial officer. Beth Fazio, a designer who has worked with Coach, Uniqlo and American Eagle, is the company’s new creative director. Justin Sellman, also a Ghurka alum, will serve as head of digital and marketing, while Ann Acierno, formerly of David’s Bridal, will work as the jeweler’s senior vice president of sales and merchandising.
Founded in 1999, Ippolita set itself up as a median-priced luxury jeweler. At one point, the company was growing at a rapid clip – with sales for the 2010 fiscal year estimated at about $70 million.
In 2014, then-ceo Joe Cavalcante described the Ippolita consumer as 45 to 50 years old, a resident of the Upper East Side and “a very stylish woman, but more on the conservative side.” At the time, he indicated a desire to market the company to a younger consumer.
In 2017, citing a “retail slump,” the company embarked on a new strategy with the aim of attracting Millennial consumers. Under Beraud’s tutelage, Ippolita hired Kendall Jenner as a spokesmodel and bolstered its under-$500 product assortment with the aim to grow annual sales by 20 percent. It also invested in a digital plan that included a “personality quiz,” an online questionnaire that recommended product based on a consumer’s preferences.